Judge Victor Valdivia, DVD Verdict-- Chronicle of the Third Reich mixes archival footage with interviews with historians and authors, most notably Sir Ian Kershaw, author of a well-known biography of Hitler. There are no interviews with surviving Germans, Jews, WWII veterans, or any other witnesses. There are also no reenactments or battlefield maps; this isn't that kind of show. Director Michael Kloft has made several previous TV documentaries on this subject (such as Television Under the Swastika) and he demonstrates here that when he finds an approach that works, he can deliver an excellent summary of this story with a unique perspective that even history buffs will find enthralling.
Chronicle of the Third Reich, then, is an excellent Nazi history, combining the best of historical analysis with documentary footage to make a series that even viewers used to WWII programs can enjoy. Some may find that it shortchanges a couple of key areas (battles and survivor stories key amongst them) but those are covered in so many other places that it hardly seems necessary. Moreover, the techniques that Kloft uses here, such as ironically contrasting Nazi propaganda footage with raw unreleased footage of what actually happened, are illustrative of his central thesis of how the Nazis used deception to wield their power and how the German people allowed themselves, for various reasons, to be deceived and led to ruin. It may not be the definitive account of this story (if such a thing can ever truly exist) but if you're at all interested in history, it's worth seeing.
Technical specs are standard: anamorphic 1.78:1 transfer, stereo mix, both satisfactory. The archival footage can look a bit rough at times, but that's to be expected. There are no extras.
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